Art Should Be Fun
Thou shalt sit for hours doing tedious drawings to learn perspective. Did you really think art should be fun?
This is the experience of many students in art classes all over the country. If anything is going to dampen the excitement of a budding artist it would be to sit for hours and hours drawing tiny lines on a picture of an office building. The occasional student might enter the foray that has a future career in architecture. This type of learning experience would make them giddy, but for most people it would be tedious.
Unfortunately, art is often taught this way.
Drawing is the foundation of art. This is a universally held opinion. It is also true that practice is the only way that an artist grows and improves. Practice, practice, practice is how you get to become an accomplished technician in drawing and painting.
I am not sure where someone implemented the rule that practice has to be boring but, often the practice part of art ends up being just that.
Some children are born with a natural gift that makes drawing easy. Natural artists see the world differently. However, any child can be taught to see like an artist. This is where the divide grows between naturally gifted children, and ones who are not. If you do not find a subject easy then you have to work harder to improve. If that time spent improving is not enjoyable then you will not gravitate towards that subject at all.
Usually, a student loses interest because the practice is boring and he’s not excited about what he is doing in the first place.
What if you could slip practice into art but make it fun. A bit like putting ground up broccoli into tacos or some other exciting dish. It is there but, you do not know it is there. It is good for you but you do not see it.
The flame of desire to paint and draw can get thoroughly quenched when children go from drawing imaginatively to drawing realistically. It is a path that is inevitable. When they pass through that door they will either have the knowledge to keep their confidence as an artist or it will be gone. Normally it is gone for the majority of children because they are not taught how to draw realistically at an early age. So, when they realize that their stick figure is not the Mona Lisa, and it really is a stick figure, they are embarrassed and stop painting and drawing.
So, the question is, can art be fun? It can be but it has to be taught in a certain way. The whole philosophy of teaching has to be rearranged. If art were fun, more children would be excited and want to practice more.
If students are hand held through each process of a picture that never leaves them in a position to fail their confidence grows. Also, if they are taught foundational techniques that are woven into a painting they want more. Their little faces beam with excitement and pride. They keep that love for the subject because they can do it, and they know they can.
This concept of teaching developed because as a young mom I saw my daughter shrivel up in an art class. I had outsourced that part of her education because I was a young mum with 4 tiny children and I was in survival mode. The teacher held up her work in front of the class and criticized it. That was it, she was done with art. Until that point I had not thought about the teaching side of art much. I was one of those people that just did it.
So, I started to teach when I could finally find my way out of the kitchen and laundry room to other venues. I taught my classes with the student in mind. Make it fun and exciting and get them jazzed and confident and they will want to paint and draw more. Treat them like an artist from an early age and give them technical skills. Teach them how to use professional materials rather than cheap ones that give very little satisfaction. An art school was born. There is no right or wrong way to teach art, but there is a better way. Art should be fun!
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